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English's Will Defines Penn State's Fourth Straight Title

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By Matt Allibone, GoPSUsports.com, Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - As the Penn State wrestling team celebrated its fourth-straight national championship Saturday night in Oklahoma City, the majority of the attention was focused on the two men who brought home individual titles for the team, David Taylor and Ed Ruth.

With Taylor having just earned his second undefeated season and individual national title, and Ruth having become the program's first three-time national championship, this certainly was no surprise. For the team however, there may have been no wrestler more valuable than the third senior in the Nittany Lion lineup, James English.

9862001.jpegEnglish has been at Penn State for six years, yet this past weekend was his first appearance at the NCAA Championships. He missed two entire season due to injury, had to pay his own tuition after being granted a sixth season of eligibility, and wasn't inserted as a starter until two weeks before the Big Ten tournament. 

None of that matters now. With an incredible performance in the NCAA Championships, English earned himself a seventh-place finish and All-American status, an outcome that seemed improbable a few months ago.

"I'm just glad I never stopped fighting and after six years I was finally able to make it here," English said. "This is what my goal was and it's great to be able to accomplish that."

Few athletes in any sport can claim to have gone through as much adversity as English has in his career. He sat out his entire freshman campaign, fought for two years to make the starting lineup, missed the 2011-'12 season following shoulder surgery, and then was relegated to backup duty for Andrew Alton last year.

Though the NCAA granted him a sixth year of eligibility, few expected him to come back. Even head coach Cael Sanderson, long his biggest supporter, was surprised when English decided to return to the team.

"This is a kid who shouldn't wrestle. He's going to have neck and back problems his whole life," Sanderson said. "He came back for a sixth year and I wasn't sure why because he's always hurt."

Despite the doubts, English never considered not coming back to Penn State. Even having already earned his degree, he knew he had unfinished business.

Determined as he was, the setbacks just continued to come for the York, Pa., native, as nagging injuries once again limited him to just two early season dual meets, which he lost. With Alton set to return from his own shoulder injury and freshman Zack Beitz exceeding expectations, English seemed to be the odd man out.

"He probably didn't wrestle somebody live (in practice) all year outside of a coach," Sanderson said. "As the season went along, I had kind of written him off."

Nobody would have blamed him for throwing in the towel on his career, but English, the only wrestler on the team whose time at Penn State precedes Sanderson's tenure as coach, kept coming back for more.

After getting healthy enough to compete in open tournaments late in the regular season, English beat both Alton and Beitz in wrestle-offs to earn himself the postseason stating spot at 149.

A sixth-place finish at the Big Ten tournament earned English a bid in the NCAA tournament, where despite being unseeded, he managed to defeat 12th-ranked Dylan Cottrell of Appalachian State in the opening round.

When a hard fought 4-3 loss to eventual national champion Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) ended his dream of winning the tournament, English refused to hang his head, knowing his team needed him to produce points in the consolation rounds.

"You can't dwell on (losing) because it's not going to do you any good," English said. "I just had to make the best of any situation I had and keep fighting the whole time."

English continued to fight on, winning two straight against Christian Barber (North Carolina) and Ryan Lubeck (Wisconsin) before clinching All-American status with a huge 6-4 overtime victory over 10th-ranked Zach Niebert of Virginia Tech.

After falling to Edinboro's David Habat in the consolation quarterfinals, English saved his best performance for last, taking down 2013 national champion Kendric Maple of Oklahoma, 2-1, to finish in seventh, and more importantly, keep the Nittany Lions ahead in the team race over Minnesota.

"If there's one way to describe how I wrestled out there, it's just fight the whole way through," English said. "Cael told me after the match that I made him so proud and that means the world to me."

On a team filled with some of the biggest names in college wrestling, English entered his lone NCAA Championships appearance as Penn State's least notable wrestler and left it as one of the surprise stars of the weekend.

Taylor, who made sure to hug English as he exited the floor following his victory over Maple, couldn't have been happier for his teammate.

"When you talk about a guy who lives his life the right way and has had some very unfortunate things happen to him, James English is the first guy that comes to mind," Taylor said. "He works unbelievably hard, and now he's an All-American. That's pretty special."

English's accomplishments may not match those of Taylor and Ruth in terms of wins and accolades, but there is no doubt that his run to reach All-American status has secured him a place in Penn State history.

"It really is unbelievable," Sanderson said. "He gutted out some wins and that's bigger than wrestling and bigger than winning championships." 

Nittany Lions Claim Fourth-Straight NCAA Title

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VIDEO: Cael Sanderson National Championship Press Conference | Photo Gallery

VIDEO: Ed Ruth Press Conference | VIDEO: David Taylor Press Conference


OKLAHOMA CITY - 
Penn State's reign over the college wrestling world continued on Saturday night when the Nittany Lions captured their unprecedented fourth-straight NCAA team title.

Fueled by NCAA individual crowns from seniors Ed Ruth at 184 pounds and David Taylor at 165 pounds, the Lions celebrated on the sport's grandest stage inside Chesapeake Energy Arena as the 2014 national champions.

9850898.jpeg"Our kids really did a fantastic job today," head coach Cael Sanderson said.  "We had our hands full.  Minnesota was really killing it, so we needed a (strong finish).  All of our All-Americans won their last match.  That's a big deal."

By no means was the fourth title an easy one for the Nittany Lions, who edged Minnesota by 5.5 points in the final team standings.  Following a victory from Ruth at 184 pounds, the Lions pulled ahead of the Gophers by 1.5 points after two championship bouts.

Minnesota suffered setbacks in its two national title bouts, with the second coming in the ninth match of the evening.  As the 157-pound bout ticked to zero on the clock, the white-clad Penn State fans rose to their feet to celebrate the program's fifth national championship.

"It is satisfying now," Sanderson said.  "It was a long three days.  We are going to sleep well tonight...This was a tough tournament.  And this was a tough year."

But the work was not quite done for the Nittany Lions, as Taylor was on deck in the final championship match of night.

You could not have scripted a better way for Taylor's career to end in a Penn State singlet than the way it did on Saturday night.  The epitome of a team player, Taylor's imprint on the program goes far beyond his stellar accolades.  He didn't miss a match at the national tournament because he wanted to support his fellow teammates.  On Saturday morning, he did not need to be at the arena, but he was the first to greet fellow James English as he came off the mat after his win in the seventh-place match at 149 pounds.

Thanks to another dominant performance, Taylor finished off his collegiate career with a victory in the final match of the national tournament, an individual national title and a team title.  He couldn't wipe the smile off of his face.

"That's just stuff I dreamt about when I was a kid. And kind of sums it up tonight," said Taylor.  "Just having that opportunity to go out there and wrestle and wrestle for the best fans in the country and have the best coaches in my corner. It's just - I don't know, it's hard to say."

Watching Taylor and Ruth have their arm raised one final time for Penn State is something special for not just Nittany Lion fans, but the sport of wrestling.  The duo combined for five individual national titles, eight individual Big Ten titles, four team national titles, four Big Ten team titles and a cumulative record of 270-6.

"Anyone who has watched David Taylor or Ed Ruth becomes and instant wrestling fan," Sanderson said.  "Those guys are fun to watch.  They are in constant motion.  They are fluid.  They are tough.  They wrestle with passion.  And they wrestle with fire.  You need heroes and guys like that to build the sport."

Taylor and Ruth certainly played a paramount role in Penn State's fourth-straight title, but the Nittany Lions remain atop the NCAA wrestling mountain because of a hard-fought team effort in Oklahoma City.

Final Team Standings - (Champions/All-Americans)
1. Penn State - 109.5 (2 Champions / 7 All-Americans)
2. Minnesota - 104.0 (0 Champions / 7 All-Americans)
3. Oklahoma State - 96.5 (2 Champions / 5 All-Americans)
4. Iowa - 78.5 (1 Champion / 6 All-Americans)
5. Edinboro - 62.0 (0 Champions / 3 All-Americans)

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National Championship Matches

184: #2 Ed Ruth (34-1) - 5-0 - NCAA Champion - All-American
In typical Ed Ruth fashion, the Nittany Lion senior wasted no time going to work against top-seeded Jimmy Sheptock from Maryland in the national title bout.  Ruth scored two quick takedowns to take a 4-1 lead into the second period.  In the top position during the second period, Ruth was dominant.  He rode out Sheptock for 3:30 of riding time after two frames.  He notched a reversal in the third and added the riding time point for a 7-2 victory.

"As soon as the guy steps on the line, I step on the line," Ruth said. "The first thing I'm thinking about is just taking 10, 20 shots. So I get to his legs, because in my head I don't like to believe that people can send me off. I'm taking shots, I like to believe I can always get to the leg, and that just keeps me pushing for the next shot, the next shot after that, and eventually hopefully I'll get him."

Ruth's long list of accomplishments includes four Big Ten titles, 136 career victories, four All-American honors and three NCAA titles.  Ruth finished third in his first trip to the national tournament.  Since the 2011 NCAA Championships, Ruth accumulated a 98-1 record in a Penn State singlet.  He will go down as one of the best in program history. 

"It's big, because there's a lot of respective wrestlers that came through Penn State," Ruth said.  "I see them every time they come in. I go like, Wow. Just makes me proud to be one of those guys."

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165: #1 David Taylor (34-0) - 5-0 - NCAA Champion - All-American
Senior David Taylor's final bout in a Penn State singlet was on the stage that featured the highest of highs in his Nittany Lion career, and it was only fitting that he got to be the final wrestler with his hand raised in front of a capacity crowd on Saturday night.  Taylor notched a takedown and built more than two minutes of riding time in the first period.  He opened the second with an escape and a second takedown en route to a 5-0 lead after two.  From there, the Nittany Lion was not going to be denied in a dominant 6-0 performance to cap off an undefeated season.

"I was up there four times. I lost twice. And it's hard. Winning the national championship, you gotta be ready to really wrestle, and I think I just developed some skills over the last four years," Taylor said.  "You know, keep working. Had some experiences wrestling freestyle and getting some more patience with my offense and guys slowing me down.  And tonight was a big night where I had to really focus on riding Caldwell and getting weight forward because he was really intent to try and get up to his feet an getting escapes. So there were some things that I had to do a little different tonight than I have in the past.  So I just think I just matured a lot as a wrestler, as a person, and I just think a lot was just looking up to my coaches every day and having a guy like, obviously, Cael, who did what no one else could do."

Like Ruth, Taylor's list of accomplishments in Blue and White is far too long to do justice.  Head coach Cael Sanderson said it best after the national title when he remarked that when picking a team of the college wrestling's all-time greats, he would not leave David Taylor off of his squad.  Taylor is a rare talent in the sport.  That coupled with his undying team-first attitude makes the Ohio native a once in a generation student-athlete for the Penn State program.  He will finish as a two-time national champ, four-time Big Ten champ and a winner of 134 matches in his time at Penn State.  The results are nothing short of remarkable.

"I'm not a historian or anything like that, but I wouldn't take anybody else on my team in the history of college wrestling over David Taylor," Sanderson said.  "It's just the passion and the love and obviously the skill and everything that comes with him."


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Follow GoPSUsports.com's Tony Mancuso on Twitter @GoPSUTony

VIDEO: Cael Sanderson 2014 NCAA Championship Press Conference

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Watch head coach Cael Sanderson address the media after the Nittany Lions captured their fourth-straight national championship on Saturday.

VIDEO: 2014 NCAA Champion David Taylor Press Conference

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Senior David Taylor won his second NCAA championship on Saturday in Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Taylor topped Oklahoma State's Tyler Caldwell by a score of 6-0 to put an exclamation point on Penn State's fourth-straight team title.

VIDEO: 2014 NCAA Champion Ed Ruth Press Conference

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Senior Ed Ruth became the first Penn State wrestler to win three NCAA championships on Saturday in Chesapeake Energy Arena.  Ruth topped Maryland's Jimmy Sheptock by a score of 7-2 in the 184-pound NCAA final.







NCAA Wrestling Championships Session V Roundup

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Photo Gallery: Session V

VIDEO: Session IV Roundup & Interviews
Photo Gallery: Session IV
VIDEO: Session III Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session III
VIDEO: Session II Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session II
VIDEO: Session I Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session I

OKLAHOMA CITY - Sixth-year senior James English stole the show on Saturday morning inside Chesapeake Energy Arena with a 2-1 victory in a tiebreaker during the medal round at 149 pounds.

7787120.jpegEnglish came into his first national tournament unseeded.  He won a match in the main draw over the 12th-seeded wrestler on the bracket.  English then dropped a 5-4 decision in tiebreakers to fifth-seeded Jason Tsirtsis, who is in the national title match.

But English didn't hang his head.  He came right back on Friday and won three-straight consolation matches before a setback sent him into Saturday's seventh-place bout.

The run at the NCAA Championships came after English did not wrestle a live match for the past two weeks in the practice room following a hamstring injury at the Big Ten Championships.  English never met a piece adversity he couldn't overcome, though.

"I wanted to make the best of whatever situation I had," English said.  "I was never going to stop fighting.  If there is one word to describe how I wrestled out there it would be fight."

When the clock ticked to zero in English's victory over Stanford's Kendric Maple, he ran into the arms of head coach Cael Sanderson.  Sanderson could not be prouder of English's ability to overcome the challenges he has faced.  Walking off the mat at the national championships as a winner during the medal round is a moment English will never forget.

"That was an awesome moment.  I look up to our coaches so much," English said.  "They are not only the best coaches but the best people in the world.  Cael told me before the match that I made him so proud.  He means the world to me, and that feeling at the end was awesome."

english_blog.jpgAlways a team-first guy, senior David Taylor was among the first to greet English in the tunnel after his victory.  The duo shared an emotional moment after the match, and Taylor has nothing but respect for English and his ability to fight through adversity.

"When you talk about a guy who lives his life the right way and has had some very unfortunate things happen to him, James English is the first guy that comes to my mind," Taylor said.  "He works unbelievably hard...The coaches gave him a chance.  He got in the lineup, got sixth at Big Tens, got in the NCAA Tournament, an All-American. That's pretty special."

To say English earned every ounce of his seventh-place finish in the NCAA Championships is an understatement.  On a team filled with standout wrestlers in the national scene, English quietly goes about his business with a blue-collar, workmanlike approach.

"I don't go out and do this for the attention.  I go out here because it is my goal and a sense of accomplishment for me," English said.  "I feed off of the other guys.  I just wish one time in my life I could go out there and pin a guy in 25 seconds like them (laughter).  That doesn't happen, but you have to make the best of it and keep fighting.  Those guys are an inspiration to me.  They give me advice, and we are all friends."

English was one of five Nittany Lions who won placing matches on Saturday morning.  Nico Megaludis finished third at 125 pounds, Zain Retherford took fifth at 141, Matt Brown took fifth at 174 and Morgan McIntosh took seventh at 197.

With the victories, the Nittany Lions trail Minnesota by 2.5 points heading into the national title bouts.  Both teams have two wrestlers in championship matches, and the crown will be decided on Saturday night.  Ed Ruth will be the second match on the stage.  David Taylor will be the final bout on Saturday night.  Tune in for the NCAA title bouts at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Session V Standings
1. Minnesota - 104.0 (2 Finalists)
2. Penn State - 101.5 (2 Finalists)
3. Oklahoma State - 87.5 (4 Finalists)
4. Iowa - 74.5 (1 Finalist)
5. Edinboro - 62.0 (0 Finalists)

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Medal Round

125: #3 Nico Megaludis (31-4) - 5-1 - Third Place - All-American
Three-time All-American Nico Megaludis earned third on Saturday morning with back-to-back wins in the medal round of the championships.  Megaludis used two first-period takedowns to move past Iowa's Corey Clark in the consolation semifinals.  The Nittany Lion junior knocked off Clark by a 5-2 margin.  In the third-place bout, Megaludis took a 2-0 lead after one against Virginia Tech's Joey Dance.  With an additional escape, a second takedown and riding time, Megaludis defeated Dance by a 6-1 margin.  Megaludis finishes a strong season with a 31-4 overall mark.  In his three trips to the NCAA Championships, Megaludis has two seconds and a third.

141: #3 Zain Retherford (33-3) - 4-2 - Fifth Place - All-American
True freshman Zain Retherford will finish fifth in his first appearance at the NCAA Championships.  Retherford suffered a 3-1 setback in the second sudden victory period against top-seeded Mitchell Port from Edinboro.  Retherford then took fifth after an injury default victory, which handed the Nittany Lions two big bonus points in the team race.  Retherford said afterwards that he loved his first experience at the national tournament and is eager to get back to work in the offseason.

149: James English (16-7) - 5-2 - Seventh Place - All-American
It's impossible to not feel good for Nittany Lion senior James English.  His road to the national tournament in a Penn State singlet spanned six years and several injuries, but English will finish his career as an All-American and seventh-place finisher.  In dramatic fashion, English topped Oklahoma's Kendric Maple, 2-1, in tiebreakers.  English ran directly to head coach Cael Sanderson, who picked up the Nittany Lion senior in jubilation.  He will finish as a Penn State representative on the podium Saturday night in Oklahoma City.

174: #5 Matt Brown (33-6) - 5-2 - Fifth Place - All-American
Two-time All-American Matt Brown finished fifth in the NCAA Championships with a 6-3 victory over Iowa's Mike Evans.  Evans knocked Brown out of the main draw with a 5-4 win in tiebreakers.  Brown suffered a 3-1 defeat to Minnesota's Logan Storley in the consolation semifinals on Saturday morning, but came right back with a strong effort against Evans.  Brown rolled to a 6-1 decision in the fifth-place match.  Brown ended the tournament with 5-2 mark, with both losses came in either sudden victory or tiebreakers.  Brown said that he is excited for the offseason and is eager to come back stronger in the fall.

197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (32-5) - 4-2 - Seventh Place - All-American
Morgan McIntosh came to the national tournament with aspirations to stand atop the podium.  While his quest for a national title came up short after a loss in the quarterfinals, McIntosh regrouped and battled to seventh-place finish at 197 pounds.  McIntosh scored a takedown in the first period en route to a 3-1 win over Iowa's Nathan Burak from Iowa on Saturday.


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NCAA Wrestling Championships Session IV Roundup

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VIDEO: David Taylor & Ed Ruth Press Conferences | Photo Gallery: Session IV

VIDEO: Session III Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session III
VIDEO: Session II Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session II
VIDEO Session I Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session I


OKLAHOMA CITY - Seniors David Taylor and Ed Ruth will wrestle for national titles on Saturday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena following wins in the NCAA semifinals on Friday.

Taylor and Ruth propelled the three-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lion wrestling team to a narrow lead in the team score following the fourth session of the 2014 NCAA Wrestling Championships.  Taylor became Penn State's first four-time NCAA finalist with a 13-5 major decision win, and Ruth punched a ticket into the finals for the third-straight year with a 5-3 decision.

The race for the team national title could not be much tighter heading into the final day of competition in Oklahoma City.  Penn State leads Minnesota by a half of a point and Oklahoma State by 2.5 points with two sessions to go in the national tournament.  Saturday is shaping up to be a dramatic day of wrestling to decide the 2014 national champion.

Session IV Standings - (Wrestlers Left in Main Draw/Consolation Draw)
1. Penn State - 91.0 (2 Finalists / 5 in Consolation Draw)
2. Minnesota - 90.5 (2 Finalists / 5 in Consolation Draw)
3. Oklahoma State - 87.5 (4 Finalists / 1 in Consolation Draw)
4. Iowa - 67.0 (1 Finalist / 5 in Consolation Draw)
5. Ohio State - 52.0 (2 Finalists / 0 in Consolation Draw)

Penn State has seven wrestlers still alive in the tournament heading into the final day of competition.  In addition to Taylor and Ruth in national title bouts, Nico Megaludis, Zain Retherford and Matt Brown are all still alive for third.  The trio will wrestle in the consolation semifinals on Saturday.  James English and Morgan McIntosh will wrestle for seventh on Saturday, as well.

Action commences in Chesapeake Energy Arena at 11 a.m. ET with consolation semifinals.  From there, the third, fifth and seventh-place matches will take place.  The morning session will air live on ESPNU.  The NCAA finals begin at 8 p.m. ET and will air live on ESPN.

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Tournament Semifinals

125: #3 Nico Megaludis (29-4) - 3-1 - Consolation Semifinals - All-American
Nico Megaludis and second-seeded Nashon Garrett battled for seven minutes in an entertaining semifinal bout.  Garrett built an early lead with takedowns in each of the first two periods en route to a 5-1 lead after two.  Megaludis stormed back in the third to make it 5-4 before he cut Garrett loose to go after another takedown.  Megaludis nearly finished a takedown on the edge of the mat in the final seconds, but fell agonizingly short in a 6-4 setback.  Megaludis could still finish as high as third with two wins on Saturday morning.

Up Next: Megaludis will wrestle in the consolation semifinals against Cory from Clark on Saturday morning.

141: #3 Zain Retherford (32-2) - 3-1 - Consolation Semifinals - All-American
True freshman Zain Retherford dropped a 7-3 decision to two-time NCAA champion Logan Stieber during his first appearance in the national semifinals.  Stieber took a 4-1 lead after one period and never looked back.  Retherford is still very much alive in the race for third place.  He will wrestle in the consolation semifinals on Saturday morning.

Up Next: Retherford will meet top-seeded Mitchell Port from Edinboro in the consolation semifinals on Saturday morning.

165: #1 David Taylor (33-0) - 4-0 - NCAA Finalist - All-American
David Taylor etched his place in Penn State Wrestling history on Friday night by becoming the program's first four-time NCAA finalist.  The four-time All-American ousted fourth-seeded Steven Monk from North Dakota State in dominant fashion on Friday night.  Taylor used two takedowns and two near-fall points to claim a 6-4 lead after one.  The Lion senior turned it on late with two takedowns and clinched the riding time point for a 13-5 major decision.

"It would have been great if I could have got a pin. But getting an extra point for our team, getting my hand raised, and getting in tomorrow night is what's important, especially this year when anything can happen at any given time, just like any other year," Taylor said.  "Any wrestling guy has got some tricks up their sleeve. Sometimes you've got to stay a little solid with them.  And tonight when I had a comfortable lead, I stayed solid and I got that takedown at the end, and I'm pretty happy with it."

Taylor will be looking for his second national title on Saturday night when competes on the sport's grandest stage.

Up Next: Taylor will wrestle second-seeded Tyler Caldwell in the national championship match on Saturday night.

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184: #2 Ed Ruth (33-1) - 4-0 - NCAA Finalist - All-American
Ed Ruth avenged his only loss of the 2014 season with a 5-3 victory over Cornell's Gabe Dean in the semifinals.  Dean topped Ruth by a score of 7-4 at the Southern Scuffle in January.  Knowing it would be a battle on Friday evening, Ruth was aggressive from start to finish in the semifinals.  With a 2-1 lead after one period, Ruth rode out Dean in the second for a commanding 2:17 of riding time.  Dean's late rally attempt fell short and Ruth secured a spot in the national finals for the third-straight year.

"Every match that I've wrestled here in Oklahoma City has felt like one more chip that's off the block, and each one is leading to my final match. It feels like it's more deserved," Ruth said.

Ruth will look to become Penn State's first three-time NCAA champion on Saturday night.  But the Lion senior isn't focused on making history.

I try not to think about that too much," Ruth said.  "Kind of history writes itself, as long as you keep doing what you're supposed to do."

Up Next: Ruth will wrestle top-seeded Jimmy Sheptock from Maryland in the national title match on Saturday night.

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Consolation Action

149: James English (15-7) - 4-2 - Seventh Place Match - All-American
Senior James English earned All-America honors on Friday with a dramatic 6-4 win with one second left in sudden victory against Virginia Tech's Zach Neibert.  If there is a wrestler in the Penn State wrestling room deserving of All-America honors it is English, who has faced steep injury obstacles on his way to a podium finish in Oklahoma City.  English will wrestle for seventh on Saturday after falling to David Habat from Edinboro.

Up Next: English will wrestle Oklahoma's Kendric Maple in the seventh-place match on Saturday morning.

174: #5 Matt Brown (32-5) - 4-1 - Consolation Semifinals - All-American
Junior Matt Brown is very much alive in the race for third place at 174 pounds.  Brown moved past Navy's Matt Miller by a score of 10-6.  In his second consolation bout of the evening, Brown downed Bryce Hammond from Cal State Bakersfield by a score of 9-3.  Two matches stand between Brown and third place on Saturday.  He will wrestle Minnesota's Logan Storley in the consolation semifinals.

Up Next: Brown will take on sixth-seeded Logan Storley from Minnesota in the consolation semifinals on Saturday morning.

197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (31-5) - 3-2 - Seventh Place Match - All-American
Morgan McIntosh scored a big bonus point for the Nittany Lion team score with a 13-4 major decision victory over Cody Reed from Binghamton.  The California native then dropped a narrow 5-3 decision to fifth-seeded Kyven Gadson from Iowa State.  McIntosh will wrestle for seventh on Saturday.

Up Next: McIntosh will wrestle Nathan Burak from Iowa in the seventh-place match on Saturday morning.



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VIDEO: Nittany Lion 2014 NCAA Finalists Interviews

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Hear from David Taylor and Ed Ruth after the senior duo advanced to the 2014 NCAA finals on Friday night inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.



NCAA Wrestling Championships Session III Roundup

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Photo Gallery: Session III

VIDEO: Session I Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session I
VIDEO: Session II Roundup & Interviews | Photo Gallery: Session II


OKLAHOMA CITY - Junior Nico Megaludis, freshman Zain Retherford and seniors David Taylor and Ed Ruth will represent the three-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lion wrestling team in the NCAA semifinals on Friday evening after tallying quarterfinal wins during the third session of the national tournament on Friday.

The Nittany Lions tallied a 4-1 mark in the NCAA quarterfinals inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.  The victories included a third-straight pin from Taylor and a major decision from Ruth.  With four semifinalists, Penn State heads into the fourth session of the national tournament with a narrow two-point lead over Minnesota and a five-point edge over Oklahoma State in the team race.

Session III Standings - (Wrestlers Left in Main Draw/Consolation Draw)
1. Penn State - 61.0 (4 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)
2. Minnesota - 59.0 (4 in Main Draw / 4 in Consolation Draw)
3. Oklahoma State - 56.0 (4 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)
4. Iowa - 42.5 (3 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)
5. Cornell - 39.5 (3 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)

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With the team scores so tight heading into the semifinals, bonus points will continue to be critical for the Nittany Lions moving forward.  Thus far, Penn State has tallied 16.0 bonus points in three sessions, including 6.0 alone from Taylor.  Taylor, Ruth and Morgan McIntosh combined for 4.0 bonus tallies in the third session.

In all, seven wrestlers are still alive for the Nittany Lions.  Senior James English, junior Matt Brown and McIntosh will all be in action during the consolation round of 12 on Friday night.

Friday evening's session will feature the semifinals and two rounds of consolation matches.  Action begins at 8 p.m. ET with television coverage of the NCAA semifinals on ESPN.

Tournament Quarterfinals

125: #3 Nico Megaludis (29-3) - 3-0 - Tournament Semifinals
Nico Megaludis marched into the NCAA semifinals for the third-straight season with a dominant performance against Jarrod Patterson from Oklahoma.  Megaludis notched an early takedown en route to a 2-0 lead after one.  The junior never relinquished the top position with a second-period ride out.  He added a takedown late for a 6-0 victory, which marked his second-straight shutout victory.  With the win, Megaludis is now a three-time All-American.

Up Next: Megaludis moves on to face No. 2-seeded Nashon Garrett from Cornell in the semifinals on Friday evening.

141: #3 Zain Retherford (32-1) - 3-0 - Tournament Semifinals
True freshman Zain Retherford used a strong first period to punch a ticket into the NCAA semifinals during his first visit to the national championships.  Retherford took a 5-2 lead in the first with a takedown, two near-fall points and an escape.  With riding time not a factor, Retherford never relinquished the top position in the final period on his way to a 5-2 victory.  Retherford is Penn State's first true freshman All-American since Megaludis accomplished the feat in 2012.

Up Next: Retherford will now face second-seeded Logan Stieber in the championship semifinals on Friday night.

165: #1 David Taylor (32-0) - 3-0 - Tournament Semifinals
David Taylor's dominant run through the 165-pound bracket continued on Friday morning with his third pin in as many matches against Iowa State's Michael Moreno.  Taylor scored a quick takedown in the first period.  He worked for a turn until the first period whistle sounded.  In the top position to start the second frame, Taylor turned Moreno for a pin just 19 seconds into the period for his program-best tying 53rd career pin.  Eleven of those pins have come at the NCAA Championships.

Up Next: Taylor will face fourth-seeded Steven Monk from North Dakota State on Friday night in the semifinals.

174: #5 Matt Brown (30-5) - 2-1 - Consolation Round of 12
Junior Matt Brown fell just shy of earning a spot in the semifinals.  Brown tangled with Iowa's Mike Evans in the quarterfinals.  The duo wrestled to a one-point decision at the Big Ten Championships, with Evans claiming a narrow 3-2 win.  Friday's quarterfinal bout was much of the same.  Brown struck quickly out of the gate with a takedown just five seconds into the match.  Evans countered with an escape and a takedown before Brown added an escape.  The two exchanged escapes in the second and third periods to set up sudden victory with the score tied at 4-4.  Evans slipped free for an escape in tiebreakers to score a narrow 5-4 victory.

Up Next: Brown will meet 16th-seeded Mathew Miller from Navy in the consolation round of 12 on Friday night.

184: #2 Ed Ruth (32-1) - 3-0 - Tournament Semifinals
Senior Ed Ruth etched his place in Penn State history by joining David Taylor as a four-time All-American on Friday morning.  Ruth built a 4-1 lead against Minnesota's Kevin Steinhaus after one period.  His lead grew to 7-1 after a takedown and escape in the second frame.  The Nittany Lion senior added a takedown and riding time in the third for a 10-2 major decision.  Ruth now has 19 victories at the NCAA Championships, which is the most of any Penn State wrestler in the program's storied history.  Ruth said after the match that the mindset does not change when he gets on the mat.  He wants to stay aggressive and keep his hands and feet moving at all times.

Up Next: Ruth will meet third-seeded Gabriel Dean of Cornell in the semifinals on Friday night.


Consolation Action

133: Jimmy Gulibon (18-15) - 1-2 - Tournament Complete
Redshirt freshman Jimmy Gulibon dropped a 4-3 decision to Zane Richards of Illinois in the consolation second round.  Gulibon finished 1-2 in his first trip to the NCAA Championships.

Up Next: Tournament complete.

149: James English (14-6) - 3-1 - Consolation Round of 12
Senior James English's run at the NCAA Championships will continue on Friday evening in the consolation round of 12 following back-to-back victories in consolation action.  English edged North Carolina's Christian Barber by a score 3-1 in his first match.  In his second bout of the session, English used a pivotal reversal in the second period to power past Wisconsin's Ryan Lubeck.  The sixth-year senior came just shy of moving into the quarterfinals of the main draw.  English said he had no time to get down because his team needed him.  He came back on Friday with a vengeance and will wrestle in session four on Friday night.

Up Next: English will wrestle Virginia Tech's Zach Neibert in the consolation round of 12 on Friday night.

157: #13 Dylan Alton (20-7) - 2-2 - Tournament Complete
Junior Dylan Alton moved into the third round of the consolation draw with a 5-2 win over Immanuel Kerr-Brown from Duke.  Alton faced 12th-seeded Luke Smith from Central Michigan in his next bout.  Alton used a third-period double-leg takedown to go on top, 2-1.  Smith escaped to make it 2-2, sending the match into sudden victory.  Smith secured a takedown in the final seconds of the sudden victory period to score a 4-2 victory.  Alton finished the NCAA Championships with a 2-2 record.

Up Next: Tournament complete.

197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (29-4) - 2-1 - Consolation Round of 12
Morgan McIntosh bounced back on Friday with two big victories in consolation action to earn a spot in the consolation round of 12.  McIntosh posted a dominant 15-7 major decision victory over Daniel Mitchell from American.  The major decision handed the Nittany Lions another pivotal bonus point in the team race.  From there, McIntosh tallied a 6-4 win over Richard Perry from Bloomsburg in his second match of the session.

Up Next: McIntosh will face Binghamton's Cody Reed in the consolation round of 12 on Friday night.

285: #14 Jon Gingrich (23-10) - 1-2 - Tournament Complete

Junior heavyweight Jon Gingrich suffered a pinfall defeat against Oklahoma's Ross Larson in the second round of the consolation draw.  Gingrich finished 1-2 in his first trip to the NCAA Championships.

Up Next: Tournament complete.



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NCAA Wrestling Championships Session II Roundup

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VIDEO: Session I Roundup & Interviews | Session I Photo Gallery


OKLAHOMA CITY - Boosted by five wrestlers in the quarterfinals, the three-time defending NCAA champion Nittany Lion wrestling team will have all 10 wrestlers in action when competition at the NCAA Championships resumes on Friday at 11 a.m. ET (ESPNU) inside Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Senior David Taylor notched his second pin of the day to headline Penn State's evening session.  Along with Taylor, Ed Ruth advanced to the quarterfinals with a technical fall victory.  Nico Megaludis, Zain Retherford and Matt Brown all advanced to the quarters, as well.  In total, Penn State will head into day two with 26.5 team points and a five-point lead over Minnesota and Oklahoma State in the team race.

Session II Standings - (Wrestlers Left in Main Draw/Consolation Draw)
1. Penn State - 26.5 (5 in Main Draw / 2 in Consolation Draw)
2. Minnesota - 21.5 (6 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)
3. Oklahoma State - 21.5 (5 in Main Draw / 3 in Consolation Draw)
4. Iowa - 20.5 (6 in Main Draw / 4 in Consolation Draw)
5. Oklahoma - 20.5 (4 in Main Draw / 4 in Consolation Draw)

Taylor, Ruth and freshman Jimmy Gulibon combined for 4.5 bonus points in the evening session.  Penn State's efforts totaled 12.0 bonus tallies over the course of the two sessions.  Bonus points are often critical in the final team race, and the Nittany Lions stepped up in a big way on Thursday.

In addition to Penn State's five quarterfinalists, Jimmy Gulibon, James English, Dylan Alton, Morgan McIntosh and Jon Gingrich will all be in action during the consolation second round on Friday morning.

Friday's session will feature the championship quarterfinals and two rounds of consolation matches.  Take a look through the session two roundup from Oklahoma City.

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125: #3 Nico Megaludis (28-3) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Junior Nico Megaludis punched his ticket into the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 6-0 victory over Oklahoma State's Eddie Klimara.  Megaludis and Klimara wrestled one another in a dual at Rec Hall in February, and Megaludis knew it would be a battle on Thursday night.  He worked for every point, but Megaludis was strong in the top position en route to a shutout.

Up Next: Megaludis will face sixth-seeded Jarrod Patterson from Ohio in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.

141: #3 Zain Retherford (31-1) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Zain Retherford followed Megaludis with a hard-fought victory of his own against Pittsburgh's Edgar Bright.  Retherford edged Bright in the BJC dual, 3-2, back in December.  On Thursday evening, the duo wrestled to a scoreless tie after one period.  Retherford notched an escape point to open the second period.  He then took a 1-0 lead into the third.  It was a takedown in the third frame that sealed a 3-0 victory for the Nittany Lion true freshman.

Up Next: Retherford will face 11th-seeded Joey Lazor from Northern Iowa on Friday morning in the quarterfinals.

149: James English (12-6) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Senior James English's bid for a spot in the NCAA quarterfinals fell just short on Thursday.  English yielded a late takedown to fifth-seeded Jason Tsirtsis from Northwestern in a narrow 4-3 setback.  Nonetheless, English will be in action on Friday morning during the second round of the consolation draw.

Up Next: English will face Christian Barber from North Carolina in the second round of the consolation draw on Friday morning.

157: #13 Dylan Alton (19-6) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Junior Dylan Alton battled fourth-seeded Ian Miller from Kent State in the second round on Thursday evening.  Alton and Miller wrestled a scoreless first period.  Miller maintained the top position throughout the second for 2:00 in riding time.  Alton battled to an escape point, but a late takedown from Miller sent the Golden Flash wrestler into the quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory.

Up Next: Alton will face Immanuel Kerr-Brown from Duke in the consolation second round on Friday morning.

165: #1 David Taylor (31-0) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Senior David Taylor loves the bright lights of the national tournament.  The Ohio native scored a pin in 2:58 during his first match of the day.  His second bout was no less dominant, but it took Taylor a bit more time.  He tallied his second pin of the day in 6:55.  He tried to turn 16th-seeded Jim Wilson on three different occasions, all of which resulting in back points.  But Taylor's late turn clinched two big bonus points for the Nittany Lions with just five seconds remaining in the match.  Taylor heads into the quarterfinals just one pin shy of the Penn State record (53).

Up Next: Taylor will face eighth-seeded Michael Moreno from Iowa State in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.

174: #5 Matt Brown (30-4) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Junior Matt Brown built a 2-0 lead with a late takedown in the first period against Iowa State's Tanner Weatherman.  Brown led 2-1 late in the second period when he scored his second takedown of the match.  Leading 4-1, Brown added an escape and a riding time point in another stout effort on Thursday.

Up Next: Brown will face fourth-seeded Mike Evans from Iowa in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.

184: #2 Ed Ruth (31-1) - 2-0 - Tournament Quarterfinals
Senior Ed Ruth, who trotted onto the mat in Oklahoma City on Friday clad in bright orange socks, scored a takedown 14 seconds into the first period of his clash against Lazarus Reyes from Illinois.  Ruth rode out Reyes en route to 2:46 of riding time.  Ruth's lead grew to 8-0 after two periods.  From there, Ruth wore down Reyes and clinched a 15-0 technical fall victory at 7:00 with three near-fall points at the final whistle.  Ruth is now 18-1 in NCAA Championships matches.

Up Next: Ruth moves on to face seventh-seeded Kevin Steinhaus from Minnesota in the quarterfinals on Friday morning.

197: #3 Morgan McIntosh (28-4) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Morgan McIntosh's run in the main draw of the NCAA Championships was cut short on Friday in a tight 3-2 setback to Chris Penny from Virginia Tech.  McIntosh and Penny were tied at 2-2 following the second period.  Penny notched an escape point in the third.  McIntosh's shot attempts for a go-ahead takedown in the latter stages of the bout were held off by Penny, which sent the Hokie to the quarterfinals.

Up Next: McIntosh will meet Daniel Mitchell from American in the consolation second round on Friday.

285: #14 Jon Gingrich (23-9) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round

Junior Jon Gingrich fell to third-seeded Adam Chalfant from Indiana by a score of 5-2 in the second round of the heavyweight main draw.  Chalfant scored the first takedown for a 2-0 lead in the first.  Gingrich scored an escape, but Chalfant held off Gingrich's takedown efforts in the final two periods.

Up Next: Gingrich will face Oklahoma's Ross Larson in the consolation second round.

Consolation Action

133: Jimmy Gulibon (18-14) - 1-1 - Consolation Second Round
Penn State's final match of the evening could prove to be a very valuable one for the team score race.  Freshman Jimmy Gulibon turned it on late in his consolation matchup against Eastern Michigan's Vincent Pizzuto for pivotal bonus point.  Gulibon turned Pizzuto late for a 10-2 major decision victory.

Up Next: Gulibon will face Zane Richards from Illinois in the second round of the consolation draw on Friday morning.



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